Story last updated at 5/9/2012 - 1:16 pm
JUNEAU - Alaska Statute 44.12.118 designates the month of May as Motorcycle and Motor Scooter Awareness month. During this time - and during the rest of the year - motorists and other road users are reminded to safely "share the road" with motorcycles, and to be extra alert to help keep motorcyclists safe. Changing the driving habits of motorists and motorcyclists alike will help decrease the numbers of motorcyclists killed and injured in crashes. Motorcyclists are reminded to make sure that they are visible to motorists, and that they follow the rules of the road. All road users are reminded to never drive, ride, walk or bicycle while distracted.
Motorists and bicyclists should perform visual checks for motorcyclists by checking mirrors and blind spots before they enter or exit a lane of traffic, and at intersections. Pedestrians should also get into the habit of scanning for motorcyclists who might be hidden by other traffic.
"Motorcyclists have responsibilities, too," said Joyce Vick, Alaska Highway Safety Office. "They should obey traffic rules, be alert to other drivers, never ride while impaired or distracted, and always wear protective gear."
Vick said that a motorcyclist is much more vulnerable than a passenger vehicle occupant in the event of a crash. Research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that per vehicle mile traveled; motorcyclists are about 39 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in traffic crashes.
The Alaska Highway Safety Office offers tips for drivers to help keep motorcyclists safe on our roadways.
Remember, a motorcycle is a vehicle with all of the rights and privileges of any other motor vehicle.
Always allow a motorcyclist the full lane width - never try to share a lane.
Perform a visual check for motorcycles by checking mirrors and blind spots before entering or exiting a lane of traffic, and at intersections.
Always signal your intentions before changing lanes or merging with traffic.
Don't be fooled by a flashing turn signal on a mo torcycle - motorcycle signals are often not self-canceling and riders sometimes forget to turn them off. Wait to be sure the motorcycle is going to turn before you proceed.
Allow more following distance - three or four sec onds - when behind a motorcycle so the motorcyclist has enough time to maneuver or stop in an emer gency.
Never tailgate. In dry conditions, motorcycles can stop more quickly than cars.